I. AM. CRYING. I won't be doing a full review of this book until closer to it's release date but OH MY GOD MY SOUL. I've finally been represented in aI. AM. CRYING. I won't be doing a full review of this book until closer to it's release date but OH MY GOD MY SOUL. I've finally been represented in a book, and to explain these feelings of incredible joy and love to you will be impossible...but I will try.
MY SWEET SWEET TNT. This book felt like a love letter from Tobago, addressed directly to this little Trini girl (trapped here in quarantined Canada and missing her island immensely).
AND ALL OF THE SOCA!!! Did I mention that I'm crying!? I cannot WAIT for people to learn more about my beautiful country and it's culture. THANK YOU SARAH! You can't even begin to know how much this book meant to me....more
This was my first read by this infamous contemporary romance duo-shocked gasps abound! I know, I've been slacking. I want to assure myself, and all of you, that I WAS enjoying it right up until things got too perfect and my belief grew tired of being suspended (I'd say this was around the 3/4 mark). There was no doubting the writing prowess of these two authors, because I can also assure you that the dialogue in here slots in comfortably and justifiably beside some of my all-time favourite dialogue writers (Rainbow Rowell, Marian Keyes). It was witty, wholesome and full of 'aww'-worthy moments, but you can only take so much cute until your eyes want to roll all the way to the back of your head.
Millie Morris, in an unofficial homage to Penny from Big Bang, is the only woman in a friend group of five. Ed, Alex, Chris and Reid round out these best friends, who all work together in different departments at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). Millie adores her friends, but adores Reid just a little bit more than the rest. In a physical admission of this secret, the two hook up for a steamy, you guessed it, 'Half-Night Stand, at the beginning of the book, and things get understandably messy from there. In true rom-com form, it's made even messier when the friend group decides to dabble in online dating to find a plus-one for an upcoming black-tie gala at the University. Millie, uncomfortable with baring her soul to the masses to snag a match, creates an alter-ego profile where she can feel free to let her guard down. She (surprise, surprise) ends up matching with Reid, but doesn't let on that it's her, because..why would she !? It's a rom-com people, keep up! How long is she willing to keep up the charade? And if she does, is possibly losing her best friend in the world worth the risk?
This book left me..wanting. It delivered hilarious dialogue and some of my favourite side-characters in a contemporary romance (I'm looking at you, Ed!), but the main characters were one-dimensional enough for me to stop caring about what happened with them. Due to a troubled past, Millie was reserved, and closed-off, but she was also quick-witted, and extremely goofy. It was a confusing contrast that elicited more annoyance than sympathy. You're also trying to tell me, that two people who have been friends for 15 YEARS, can't recognize an (albeit) slightly head turned to the left profile picture and their way of typing/text speaking?! No, no sir. I am NOT here for your lies and deceit. I came here for a good time, not a take-me-for-a-fool time.
I will definitely be continuing on his Christina Lauren journey though, I am now determined to find a winner in their catalogue....more
What, in the floppy-eared hell, did I just read?! This book was an entirely different breed of weird, and I mean that in the most complimentary and fascinating way. It was a sub genre mash-up of dark academia and fantastical horror, combined with metaphorical and self-reflective bits that damn near blew my whole mind. Without question, Bunny is one of the most oddly satisfying books I have ever read.
Samantha Mackey is a grad school student at Warren University. Perpetually intimidated by her peers, and making little to no progress on her work, she spends most of her days in self-sabotaging conversation with her best, and equally as dark-minded friend, Ava. Their most favored target for mockery is a group of women on Samantha's campus who call themselves the "Bunnies". Perfectly groomed, sickeningly sweet, and irritatingly cliqué-y, the Bunnies are both a wonder and a source of frustration for Samantha, so when they extend an invitation to join them for a weekly writing session (dubbed the 'Smut Salon) at their home, she decides to feed her curiosity. The further into the Bunny hole she falls, the further away she gets from reality, and the once-cherished friendship she held with Ava. Escaping their clutches comes with a price, one that Samantha could not have seen coming.
Bunny is one of those books that can be so many different things depending on it's reader. For me it was social commentary on the dangers of a hive-mind, especially on those who are more mentally susceptible to it's mechanisms. Awad was brilliant in her choice to use fantastically horrible elements to symbolize influence and desperation. I found myself in Samantha during so many moments that I literally had to stop reading at those points. I think the best word I saw used to describe this book was "bonkers", because it was, it was absolutely insane, all while being incredibly purposeful in it's madness.
Dialogue is among the most important check boxes for me as a reader, and unfortunately, not many authors have checked it. Awad checked it. She checked it with a gigantic, perfectly inked, check mark. It's no easy feat to be metaphorical, symbolic, dark, AND witty. Bunny was successful in being all 4 of those things. I'd be hard-pressed to read another book like it this year....more
It's never easy to review a book that had good intentions; a book that set out to cast a huge spotlight on a still largely ignored social injustice. Fowler attempted that with A Good Neighborhood, and while her writing was purposeful, it lacked so much of what was needed for a heavy topic.
The Whitman family has recently moved into their rebuilt home in the sprawling and coveted neighborhood of Oak Knoll, North Carolina, much to the annoyance and frustration of next-door neighbor, and professor of ecology, Valerie Alston-Holt, but to the extreme pleasure of her 18-year-old son, Xavier. Pleasure because the Whitman family includes 18-year-old Juniper, who Xavier immediately falls for. As their romance blooms innocently in the background, the forefront is filled with the legal clashing of Valerie and Brad Whitman, after Valerie opens a civil case against Brad for the destruction of some beloved greenery in her backyard. Disturbing secrets are leaked and relationships are tested in this narrative that strives to go beyond surface-level issues, and straight into those that are begging for more awareness.
The author took the time to add a disclaimer at the start of the book, letting her readers know that she, a white woman, would be writing about black characters within, and assured us that she took the appropriate measures to ensure accuracy regarding their experiences. I appreciated her efforts, but I sadly found that she missed the mark with this novel. The writing was great, and her message, an extremely important one. Overall, I just felt like she lacked realistic emotion and subtleties during moments, and dialogue, where her black characters were suffering the most unspeakable injustices. It was a quick and addictive read nonetheless, I just wish more care was taken with the subject matter and those involved.
-------------------- *I received an egalley from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review*...more
I think it's important to note that I was quite young and ignorant to politics when the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal explodeAs seen on my blog:
I think it's important to note that I was quite young and ignorant to politics when the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal exploded, so reading
Young Jane Young
didn't feel as reminiscent to me as it did to many others. What it felt like, was a beloved author creating magic yet AGAIN. What it felt like was the exploration of a topic that should never cease to be discussed: what it's like to be a woman in a world where we're handed rulebooks before our first breaths.
Told in the narrative style I favour the most, multiple perspectives, Young Jane Young becomes whole through the eyes of four women: Rachel (Jane's mother), the congressman's wife, Ruby (Jane's daughter), and Aviva (a young Jane). It begins as a broken thing though, as we learn of scandals, the consequences of impulsive decisions, and the people who are affected in the worst ways by it all.
Young Aviva Grossman has fallen in the kind of love that only loves you back in hushed voices and away from public eyes. She's begun a sordid love affair with a local Congressman, and numerous attempts on her mother's part cannot persuade her to still her heart—or her sexual rendezvous with this
married man. After the inevitable crash and burn, Aviva relocates out of shame and in the hopes of beginning anew. With a new baby to consider (and feed, and clothe and generally ensure the safety of), Aviva/Jane trades in her political robes for a much more low-key set and starts her own wedding planning business in Maine. She soon decides that her initial calling was the right one, and runs for Mayor of her town. It's around this time that Jane's daughter, Ruby, stumbles upon a much-regretted copy of the blog Aviva/Jane kept while schmoozing with the Congressman, and now Jane has to re-live nightmares and win back the respect of her only child.
Young Jane Young was such a far cry from the whimsical setting of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, and a million kudos to Ms. Zevin for that. Not many authors can separate genres in a way that stays true to their talent, yet differs greatly from their surrounding works. The voices in this novel begged to be heard, and there wasn't a single one I didn't want to hear. It was the perfect blend of scandal, family bonds, and comedic relief. And for the love of all that is perfect, there is a CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE section that I cannot even begin to describe the genius of. Long-time readers of this author will find themselves at home here, and because of Young Jane Young's brilliant relevancy, I think many new readers of hers will pick it up as well....more
The relevancy of this book is IMMENSE, for right now, for every single year that has already past, and, without a doubt for the years that are to come.
The Best Kind of People
was a delve into rape culture that was a lot more character based than what I've experienced thus far, but no less resounding for it. It was an exaggerated depiction of the perfect family, the perfect home, and the crippling effects of what an imperfect revelation had on them.
The initial few paragraphs read like a page straight out of a Nicholas Sparks novel, so it was alike stepping on a landmine in the middle of paradise when the scene suddenly takes a turn for the possibly criminal
. Whittall did small town wealth so flawlessly, and with such an emphasis on the perks that come with having everything just "go your way," that when the scandal bomb DID explode, it wasn't just the Woodbury family left wandering aimlessly, I felt that confusion and betrayal in my OWN gut. How could this be happening? This particular thing, the most horrible thing that could possibly be happening, to a family who built a life that resembled the complete OPPOSITE of what this thing created: disloyalty, humiliation, social shunning, loss of reputation, loss of
. You're left wondering if there's anyone in your life you can actually trust--how well do you know the person you've spent years loving the most?
I lost track of how many times I changed my mind about George Woodbury's guilt, but it was obvious that Whittall wanted it that way.
The Best Kind of People
wasn't a crime novel, or a mystery novel, or anything that would have one building pieces to form a clear reveal. It was the method of the madness, that madness being a loss of self, of everything you once held true turned inside out and unrecognizable. It was about a daughter's once fierce trust in a father who held all of life's answers, her pillar of unshakable strength. It was about a son's determination to keep that same image of his father alive by using the law's allowances. And finally, it was about a wife, who could will her mind to believe in her partner's incapability of heinous acts, but what to do about her heart's suspicions?
Whittall's writing was confident and so specifically crafted for her desire effect, which was not to keep you guessing, but to keep you
. Feeling for the Woodbury family members who were not in jail, the ones who WERE left to keep guessing about their father, and husband's,
The very last sentence of this novel infuriated me beyond comprehension, but sadly, it mirrors the outcome of so many real life situations with this subject matter.
The Best Kind of People
is a massively important book. It's aim was not to focus on a grand revelation, or drive home the rights you have as a human being, but instead it offered a rare look inside the mental and emotional states of the people who usually suffer silently: the family members of a suspected offender. I urge you to this book keep you in it's heart-gripping vise.
Recommended for Fans of:
Contemporary, Controversial Issues, Jodi Picoult
Before you read this novel, put your mother on your speed dial if you haven't already, and have your phone READY. You've been forewarned.
With Love from the Inside
will tie your heart into knots, and prod relentlessly at your tear ducts. Told from two perspectives, this narrative follows the life of a mother on death row, convicted of murdering her infant son, and a daughter that has done nothing but attempt a life of moving forward. It is a fast-paced story line that will have you begging for "just TWO more minutes! PLEASE canwestoptheworldforONEsecond." I promise you that your appreciation for time will be forever changed.
Sophie Logan has been harboring eleven years worth of hate for a mother that Sophie believes has done the unthinkable, all while Grace Bradshaw holds on to the hope that her daughter will find the space in her heart to fit forgiveness, and faith. When both mother and daughter become aware of a dreaded final date, there is a rush to recount memories, to question truths, and to bare souls. Angela Pisel strung together some extremely beautiful lines in this novel, just enough to hit you square in the soul, but otherwise, there was not much literary flare to make note of.
With Love from the Inside
with an urgency to get to the conclusion, so while the intended punch in the gut was achieved, the road to get there wasn't paved with in-depth character development or lengthy back stories. It was the kind of narrative that allowed you to easily place yourself in the main characters' shoes, to reminisce on your own childhood memories about someone who may have loved YOU beyond control. Someone you took for granted. Someone who has now been given an exact life expiry date. It was devastating to think about. And I was devastated while reading the majority of these pages. But the end message was SO strong, it would be a shame to miss out on the much-needed perspective it lends. It definitely did that for me!
Now...I'm off to call MY mother.
Recommended for Fans of:
Change of Heart
by Jodi Picoult,
by Rene Denfeld (my review here).
WORDS. I don't have them. I can't possibly come up with the right words to properly write this review. But my GOD does Joshilyn Jackson come up with the right words to write one HELL of a novel. It's sorcery. She's a sorceress, I'm convinced. Her descriptive talent is OTHER WORLDLY.
The Opposite of Everyone
was a step back into the world that I fell in love with in
Someone Else's Love Story
; a trip back into a place that was familiar, and comforting, and HILARIOUS, and so unabashedly witty and clever.
Paula. The sassy lawyer best friend of William in my beloved
Someone Else's Love Story
. Do you remember her? Because I almost didn't, okay no, I didn't at all. So focused I was on William finding love with the one he was meant to be with all along. But the second she opened her mouth in this novel, I remembered everything, and was more than a little giddy to realize that I was now being handed HER story.
The Opposite of Everyone
began with a flashback to Paula's literal beginning:
"I was born blue.
If my mother hadn't pushed me out quick as a cat, I would have been born dead and even bluer; her cord wrapped tight around my neck. She looked at my little blue lips, and my blue toes and baby fingers, and she named me after Kali. Kali Jai."
Kali Jai: Hindu goddess of time, change, power, creation and preservation. And Joshilyn Jackson made Paula exactly so. She was also fiercely independent, ruthless, unapologetic, and unexpectedly, a big softy. This novel was an exploration of all of those traits, and a discovery of ones that Paula didn't even know she possessed. It was a refreshing take on what it means to be a part of a family, even if that family was only two people. Told in present time/flashback style, we were audience to Paula's early childhood, and more specifically, the one incident that defined much of what her heart spent trying to unravel and heal from in this novel. I eventually fell into a strange space that allowed me to feel extreme admiration for her character, and in true Joshilyn Jackson style, I was able to reach that feeling on my own-the author provided no scenes created to "lead" readers to a feel more positively toward Paula.
Each character stayed true to who they were at their core, from who they were when we are first introduced to them. If they showed growth, it was because the situations leading to that change made sense. The talent I most admire about Joshilyn Jackson is her ability to effortlessly create a sense of genuineness-like she isn't writing a book FOR her readers, instead, you feel as though her characters are already existing, have ALWAYS existed, you just happened to become a passerby as their stories are playing out.
The Opposite of Everyone wasn't as hard a hitter on the heart, and there was a slight lack of consistency near the end, but I'd do it all over again. I would choose Jackson's writing, and beautifully flawed characters, every single time.
Recommended for Fans of:
Contemporary, 'Chick-lit', Mystery, court jargon, Rainbow Rowell, Amy Hatvany, Patti Callahan Henry,
The Precious One
by Marisca de los Santos.
Sometimes it all becomes too much. The mass amount of books sitting on my shelves..and my floor..and my nightstand..and-listen, I have A LOT of books. An accumulation that I'm not entirely sure that I'll be able to get through in my lifetime. But I have them, and I love looking at them, and then I'll pick one up and be reminded, once again, that I love READING them-a fact that is sometimes overlooked when you're too busy COLLECTING books, as opposed to cracking them open.
The Precious One
was one those books that drives home this very fact: books are life, and the people who write them well are worthy of every praise.
Marisa de los Santos is a master of wit, of charm, and
human emotion. She created character relationships like she was listening in on actual humans, and transcribing their interaction word for word. She understood intricacies, and one offs, and flaws, and the importance of creating a character SO despicable, that many would keep reading, if only to see if they changed their ways by the end. I wanted this narrative to go on for at least another 200 pages.
Told in alternating voices-Taisy, and her younger sister Willow-
The Precious One
is story of a family. A family story that stands so far outside of the box that I didn't know whether I should sit stock still and read with bated breathe, or yell at the book with ALL of the emotions inside of me. It was more a case of the latter, as de los Santos kept the shock value at a solid 100 out of 10 in terms of "worst things a father can say to his child". I kept bringing to mind my childhood, and thanking the powers that be that my father loved me with his whole heart, and still does. Taisy turned out to be the holder of my heart, and was one of the most genuine characters I have every experienced in a narrative.
The Precious One
wasn't a fly through book, which is to say, you won't be turning pages at a break neck speed, but OH how I guarantee that you will love what you find in here. De los Santos brought to mind dialogue and charm that is reminiscent of Joshilyn Jackson, and Cecelia Ahern. I've already bought every single thing she has ever written!
Recommended for Fans of: Contemporary, Drama, Joshilyn Jackson, Cecelia Ahern....more
What a metaphorical roller coaster of a book, and while I do enjoy me some great metaphors, AND roller coasters, I had a hard time appreciating this book for it's tone and style. Ben McPherson chose to highlight the emotional and mental state of trauma in
A Line of Blood
. The details of betrayal and death, background noise to the poetic and foggy dialogue. I like my mysterious a lot less about human discord, and more about fact finding and analyzing. Nevertheless, the narrative held my attention, in that "I could care less for the characters, but I need to know how this turns out" kind of way.
It begins with death. Alex and his son Max make their way through the neighbours house in search of their cat, only to find said neighbour in a very compromising state of dead. What at first glance seems like a suicide, the story continues in the obvious way, with a suspicion of murder instead, a new suspect every few chapters, and a million questions that not everyone involved wants answers to. Who had the most to lose? To gain? To be angry enough about, or regretful for? Through a slow progression, Alex Mercer plays victim to his own mind, and to the minds of two people he mistakenly thought he knew best.
A Line of Blood
was comprised of infuriating dialogue that attempted to answer questions with more questions. Where characters were in a constant competition of "who can beat around the bush the longest?".The narrative void of any direct feeling, or thought, or realistic reaction-I wanted to throttle someone, or at least ask if they were even human. The subject matter itself, however, was brilliant, big screen worthy even-the very idea of the event sequence made reading until the end worth it. I suppressed skipping to the end to find out who's mind was disturbed enough to commit such a heinous act, and who's heart would be broken the most by the discovery. When the end did finally come, I could have never predicted that the outcome would be so disturbing, the culprit so unashamed of their act.
McPherson's writing was unapologetic, but left so much to be desired in the way of facts and reason.
A Line in Blood
was too much drama, and too little mystery for my taste, but overall, a good fiction debut for the author.
Recommended for Fans of: Mystery, Suspense Contemporary, Drama,
by Gillian Flynn....more
FINALLY, some realistic characters. Some refreshingly broken, flawed, quintessentially HUMAN characters. I couldn't get enough of the voices in
Accidents of Marriage
, I couldn't get their joys, and pains, and heartbeats out of my soul. I wanted this book to keep telling me about all of the ways we can end up hurting the people we love, even when we don't mean to. Randy Susan Meyers used the best kind of resources-and that was life experience. It is with a heavy heart that I had to flip the last page of this book, but it is with much enthusiasm and appreciation that I write my thoughts for you.
Randy Susan Meyers has been there. She's been inside the lives of those who's hearts seem permanently wrenched; who's families have been torn apart by tragedy or scandal.
Accidents of Marriage
is a perfect case of literary art imitating life-Meyers brought her actual working knowledge of emotionally damaged families to the page in such a realistic way, in a way that made me believe with ALL of my heart that the Illica family existed somewhere. They could have been right next door, that's how intensely I felt their presence on the page. During my years of reading, I've found that adult authors have a difficult time finding children's voices-they either end up sounding miles beyond their age, or too immature to be a convincing 14-year-old. Meyer won on all three accounts in this novel, Emma, Caleb, and Gracie were some of the most believable children's voices I've read to date. Their dialogue made sense, their emotions expressed in ways that I wouldn't have accepted if done, or said, in any other way. This author has definitely spent time around children, and actually took the time to understand their little hearts.
I related so intricately with the narrative of
Accidents of Marriage
, I read it like it was a biography written about my own life experiences, it was a chilling reminder of what could have been my own tragic circumstances. This book will do that to you-it will have you thinking about that one person in your life that fell victim to a blind love. To a love that they swore would be the one that kept them whole, but ended up scattering every single happy part of your being into unreachable places.
I physically felt my heart clench for Maddy-I ran to her side so many times in my mind. There was such an exactness, and strength, in way that Meyers portrayed her pain, and eventual disability. The conclusion of this novel was definitely not the route I would have wanted the characters to follow, but it didn't matter, no qualm I could possibly have with this novel matters. I want to keep this narrative so fresh in my mind, and so close to my heart-as will you.
Dialogue. I'll say it time and time again. Dialogue is EVERYTHING. There have been entire narratives that have received a shining review from me based on dialogue alone. The art of sounding realistic, of avoiding cliches, of spewing wit like you were BORN to do it, in my opinion, is a literary ability, or inability, that can make or break a novel. Melissa DeCarlo was BORN to dialogue.
The Art of Crash Landing
was a debut that set in stone the single FACT that I will purchase every single thing this author puts out into the world.
You know the storyline: young struggling adult inherits property from a family member they never met, in a town they've never been to, with an impeding onslaught of secrets from said town residents about aforementioned family member. This book had the setup of a book written a million times, by a million different people. But it wasn't. Dear God it WASN'T that book. The Art of Crash Landing was the scenic route of that book. It was a chance to enjoy the ride, with a voice that wasn't trying too hard, or insulting readers with a myriad of unbelievable characters or stilted subplots. DeCarlo wrote with such confidence, and allowed her characters to feel out their own resolutions. I couldn't predict Mattie's moves, I was never fully able to follow her trains of thought, and I didn't want to. I loved that we got to be as equally surprised by Mattie's decisions as she was.
It is such an easy hole to fall into, I've found, when you stick a character in the middle of a small town, for them to spend endless chapters searching for answers to questions they didn't even know they had. There seems to be a rule that states that they need to an agonizingly long time find said answers, and then spend even longer with the unraveling.
The Art of Crash Landing
was refreshing in the sense that the pieces fell into place quickly, but satisfyingly. Nothing was rushed, but enough time was spent on situation for us to truly feel genuine connection to all the characters involved.
ALL of the points go to Melissa DeCarlo for her use of wit and snark in this novel, I couldn't get enough of it. Mattie could star in every novel I read from now on, and I would be perfectly fine with that. I didn't love the end resolution, but I'm going to make this such a small sentence about that, because I hate that I'm even writing it. So uh...let's pretend I didn't sneak that in there.
What a brilliant debut otherwise. I can't recommend it enough!
Recommended for Fans of: Adult fiction, Contemporary, Humour, any book by Joshilyn Jackson...more
I seem to have hit a trend with my reading as of late-does 2 count as a trend? A trend that has found me reading important books, with less than stellar narratives.
is an important book, in regards to the light it sheds on a disease that is all too rapidly claiming lives.
was informative in it's explanation of the disease, and of the stresses placed not only on the bearer, but on the loved ones surrounding the affected. But the fat, muscle, and skin intertwined with the very important core of this novel, was a storyline what was choppy, and stilted, and indescribably frustrating to read.
Marylee MacDonald went for that gut punch, for that seriously hard-to-ignore cast of characters that (almost) made you feel lucky to have that aunt that comments on your slight weight gain every Christmas. The people existing in this novel were horrendous. They were rude, and selfish, and heartless, and overall lacked basic human courtesy. Colleen Gallagher's daughter Sandy has arrived home, her daughter's husband Tony, literally, falls out of the passenger side and curls up in a ball. Colleen tries rushing to his aid, while exclaiming, quite calmly, "Tony, are you all right?"....
That's it!? Were we to assume that Colleen was already aware of Tony's tragic news? I was so confused.
We soon find out that Tony has been diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), and is about to become even more insufferable than he already is naturally. And Colleen, to become pushover of the century.
That was the tone of this entire novel, it was one non-reaction after another. It was insult, after dropped topic, after assumption, after another. I felt like I was reading this book while submerged underwater, it made my head SO foggy. I'll be the first to admit that the subject matter of this novel is enough to propel it onto the "books you should be aware of" list, but the writing style made me cringe-the nails on chalkboard kind of cringe. Granted, readers eventually become privy to the reason why (a couple) of the characters are so hostile, but it wasn't enough for me by then. The entire 3/4 of the book set me up for exhaustion, I just wasn't having it by the end. I felt very little other than anger towards every single voice in
, even little Josh. Yes, MacDonald wrote a book that everyone should pick up, but I can't guarantee that you'll love it for it's literary finesse.
Recommended for Fans of: The movie:
Theory of Everything
, Contemporary, fiction with characters that have a physical disability....more
It's a dangerous road we venture down, the road we call "one of my favourite author's second book". It's a road that I wish didn't lead to such high expectations. It's the birth of your second child, and hoping the labour will go as smoothly as the first, it's that second helping of dinner that you were SO sure you wanted, but then you're too stuffed, and these analogies are horrible, aren't they?!
I didn't love
as much as I had hoped my whole heart would.
I expected too much, and felt like I was given only the smallest emotional sliver of what
was. It's unfair to compare narratives, but that wasn't the issue for me anyway, it was the lack of pull I felt towards situations and people existing in this book.
was too specifically targeted to an audience that I wasn't a part of: war veterans, those familiar with heavy PTSD symptoms, fans of extremely detailed and technical combat scenarios and weaponry-there was little in there that I could relate to. I'm more than sure that that wasn't intentional on Kiernan's part, as there were 3 stories cohabiting this novel, one of them with the potential to be highly relatable-I just couldn't take the bait.
The author wrote primarily from the perspective of a female lead this time around, which is always an admirable feat for a male author, but I didn't believe her character either. It was a display of too much patience, too much sympathy, with no buildup to a self dialogue of inner turmoil, or much needed outburst, in sight. Deborah played her role as hospice nurse and understanding wife to a fault, and it drove me to the brink of madness. I felt like
was written to highlight an understated reality, which was the after effects of war on the people who witnessed and participated in the most horrific of acts: the killing of a fellow human being. It was as though the fictional storyline came second to that. There was an almost-pull towards the relationship between the dying professor, and Deborah, but even in those moments, I found it hard to not detach myself from his miserable attitude, and her willingness to put up with it.
I digress, because I didn't dislike the entirety of this narrative. In fact, the parts I enjoyed the most were Kiernan's descriptions of Deborah's relationship with her husband before the war shot it to figurative bits. I got a chance to remember that I REALLY enjoy this author's writing, I just didn't love
Recommended for Fans of: War fiction, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, PTSD in fiction....more
I can't seem to wrap my head around all of the things that this book...WASN'T. I have never before, in my entire reading existence, read a book that iI can't seem to wrap my head around all of the things that this book...WASN'T. I have never before, in my entire reading existence, read a book that involved ZERO conflict. There was inner conflict in here, yes, as one character undergoes a hysterectomy. But even THAT was written with sunshine, rainbows, and lollipops dancing in the background. I was dumbfounded, and so disappointed with what I found in
. However, as per usual, these are my personal opinions, because this book could very well be the perk that YOU need to get you out of a winter slump: a neat little drama-free soap opera of a book.
As the synopsis points out,
is a narrative about 3 woman (plus some female side characters), "navigating" their way through life, and it's small surprises. I won't delve too much into the plot, because anything I say might very well give away the entire thing: this book could have been written in 150 pages or less, seriously. The story is mainly centered around Sarah, who, along with her husband Josh, uproots her life and moves from New York, to a small town in Virginia. She then receives some bad news regarding her best friend Mona, hightails it back to New York to take care of her, and ends up spending some quality time with her sister-in-law, Kate, as well. In the end, she receives some great news.
That's it. That's all. I've pretty much described the entire book to you. There were no LIFE-ALTERING secrets revealed. No one was betrayed, no one was abandoned, defeated, depressed or even remotely in danger *SIGH*. When I started a new chapter, or read a line that (I thought!) held some guarded truth, I kept thinking "okay..okay this is it guys!! NOW the author is going to drop some bombs! Some real HEART-HITTING twists! I just KNOW IT!". And then..........nothing. Nothing until the very end, and then nothing there either. I was absolutely losing my MIND over the sheer
that was happening.
The characters in
were completely one-dimensional, and could have all been the same person to me. Their voices were so alike, my eyes glazed over almost all of the dialogue. Sarah's husband, Josh, could have been the one getting a hysterectomy for all I know, he was THAT interchangeable with her best friend, Mona. He was unrealistically written, which infuriated me to no end. Seriously, what man is THAT perfect? Give me a break. I want to escape reality when I read, but I'm not in favour of becoming delusional. I will refrain from sharing my thoughts about the main female lead, Sarah. Let's just say that when I got to a scene where she completely refused to become someone's friend because they were "too pretty", I was literally ready to close the book for good.
followed a linear path, a safe and, maybe for some, a comfortable pace. It's a book you might pick up if you've just overcome an emotionally trying time, and you just want something that's free of any negativity, or intense drama. There IS the issue of cancer in this book, so if that's a touchy subject for you, maybe steer clear. However, it was written about in a way that barely grazed the surface of the emotions, and procedures, involved.
More times than not, your reading self is going on a hell of a lot more adventures than your physical self, at least mine is. My adventures of choice More times than not, your reading self is going on a hell of a lot more adventures than your physical self, at least mine is. My adventures of choice usually include fantastical worlds, and severely improbable magical abilities. But sometimes, just sometimes, I like to experience things that are more likely to happen in my own life, or have very WELL happened in my own life. Like drunken nights with friends, and embarrassing crushes on boys, and a general disarray of fun and good company.
Siding With Plato
was that type of experience, it was an easy, feel good type of read. Filled with cliches, yes, but it was the quirky dialogue, and sharp-tongued characters, that won me over.
Brooke was your typical college freshman, right along with the three girls she meets, and instantly bonds with, very early on in the book. No time is wasted, as the story line is quickly filled with party scene after party scene, and next day hangovers at breakfast. Then of course, there was THE GUY. You know the one. The jock, the one that couldn't be anything but a heartbreaker, a tease, a cocky, self-centered bastard. Brooke resists his charms for as long as she can, and it was in this play of cat and mouse that I really enjoyed her character. I did not expect some of the lines she lashes out with, and I found myself literally laughing out loud at almost every scene with her dialogue. I appreciated the fact that Michelle Manning didn't cast her characters in these 'innocent,' doe-eyed roles. They were spunky, and refreshingly shameless. They spoke their minds, and acted on impulses, and were never maliciously belittled by their peers, or themselves, for doing it. There is a definite need for these types of open-minded environments in fiction.
I hope to see this author break out big in the writing scene, and I look forward to reading more of her work.
Recommended for Fans of: Contemporary, Romance, 'Chick-Lit', Comedy, New Adult, Sophie Kinsella...more
2.5 STARS I tried to give love another chance. The love for David Nicholls' books that is. I will admit, I liked
many degrees more than I enjoyed the mess that was
, and even laughed at loud on more than one occasion. But as a whole,
was a self-indulgent, teeth grinder of a book. The main character was a mess, and rightly so, because his wife and son's characters were pretty much the scum of the earth.
I have never felt more inclined to throw a book at my wall, with hopes of actually injuring a few choice characters within.
was a portrayal of the shining moments of love, and the darkened moments of it's decline. Douglas Petersen is on the verge of losing his wife, but for no good reason, in my opinion. Connie Petersen wakes up in the middle of one night with the courage to utter some despairing words: "...
I think our marriage has run it's course. Douglas, I think I want to leave you.
" What ensues is a maddening switch of timelines between present, and past.
Present: Douglas, Connie and their son Albie have gone on their pre-booked Grand Tour of Europe, despite Connie's statement, but to the inner joy of Douglas. He hopes to win his wife back, and finally gain some respect from his son while he's at it.
Past: Douglas recounts his unexpected love affair with Connie-starting from before they even met. When they do meet, there couldn't be less fanfare, and more effort on Douglas's part to convince us that what he and Connie shared up until a certain point was pure, and utter, magic.
I was having none of it, and maybe that was Nicholl's intention. The story was Douglas's perspective, his view on what he thought the people around him were feeling, and expressing. I would have loved to have Connie's side of the story, happening simultaneously with her husband's. I wanted to know the thoughts of a woman that I only grew to hate more and more as the narrative progressed-Connie was selfish, dissatisfied, and wholly unlikable. I feel as though we were sometimes meant to see Douglas as the enemy, but personally, I wanted to shelter him the entire time. I wanted him to know that he was doing a fantastic job of being a father, and keeping his family provided for. I wanted the whole book to turn into a big "finding yourself" for him. I wanted Connie and Albie to take their self-centered selves into some other book, somewhere else.
Nicholl's writing was thought-provoking, the multiple lines I highlighted was proof of that. There were profound statements that spoke to me about my own state of affairs, made words out of thoughts I have never verbalized.
definitely was a subjective novel, laid out in a way that allows readers to see themselves in either Douglas or Connie, or even Albie. It was a test of my patience, for sure, and I walked away having picked a side. Whose side will you choose?
Recommended for Fans of: Contemporary, Literary Fiction,